1BR

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
1BR Movie Poster Image
Unoriginal horror with graphic violence, blood, and language
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It's easy to victimize lonely and isolated people. "Craziness is poisoning yourself with alcohol and pills to forget your loneliness." Insane, sadistic, and controlling cult members ignore their own insanity and violence in the name of supposedly improving the lives of other people.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sarah is adventurous enough to leave her family and move to Los Angeles, but reluctant to assert herself at work. Nearly everyone else in the movie is a sadistic zealot.

Violence

A woman is drugged and held against her will. Her hands are nailed to a wall. A man threatens to kill her with a gun. A man raises a knife, ready to kill someone. A sick woman agrees to have friends kill her because she has become a burden. A plastic bag is tied over her head and gas is pumped in. A man shows a scar where his eye was gouged out for trying to escape the community. A house cat is placed in an oven and burned to death. After a violent attack, a woman's face is covered with blood spatter. A woman is held in a cult community and expected to have sex with a man she doesn't like and then raise his children.

 

Sex

A woman's dad cheated on her mother while the mother was dying of cancer.

 

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "bitch," "ass," "damn," and "hell." Someone says, "Vag up," referring to "vagina."

 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink alcohol. A kidnap victim is drugged. "Craziness is poisoning yourself with alcohol and pills to forget your loneliness."

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 1BR is a horror movie that dabbles in social commentary. A woman is kidnapped, drugged, and tortured by a cult claiming they'll help improve her life. To that end, she's forced to stand in a stress position for what may be days. When she falls, cult leaders nail her hands to the wall to keep her in place. Violence is graphic and gratuitous. She's branded with a hot iron. A man threatens her with a gun. Someone tries to hammer a long screwdriver through someone's ear. A man is stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver and blood spatters on someone's face. People are shot. A sick woman is "euthanized" by her community. They place a bag over her head and fill it with gas. A cat is placed in an oven and burned to death. A woman is held in a cult community and expected to have sex with a man she doesn't like and then raise his children. Adults drink alcohol. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "ass," " damn," and "hell."

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User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written bylily15 September 7, 2020

1BR is for 13 up

There was some gore and violence but nothing unpredictable.

What's the story?

Angry at her dad for cheating on her sick mom, young Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom) runs off to start fresh and seek her fortune in Los Angeles. The title's 1BR is the apartment she finds in a complex filled with friendly neighbors happy to welcome her into their community. But when the pipes make horror movie noises every night and someone breaks in to roast her cat in her own oven one night, it's clear she has stumbled into something far more like the Roach Motel (you can check in but you can’t check out) than a cozy one-year lease. She's drugged and tied up, then forced to stand in a painful stress position for what may be days to break down her resistance. Her hands are nailed to a wall, blood dripping from the wounds. The cult leader Jerry (Taylor Nichols) explains that he knows how to fix her "bad conditioning," that human selfishness is the root of everyone's misery and she will thank him when she gives in to the cult's "four foundations." Can Sarah escape in time?

Is it any good?

The protagonist in this movie tries to escape a real-life nightmare, but the true nightmare is trying to watch this. Take solace in the fact that you can turn it off. First, 1BR is a shameless rip off of Jordan Peele's Get Out in which a community of seemingly friendly white people kidnap, brutalize, and lobotomize Black people, motivated by their hateful racism. Here the kidnapping, brutality, and lobotomizing are performed with no motivation at all. Director-writer David Marmor fills the movie with creepy horror clichés -- creaking pipes, disturbing music -- to argue that we're watching a horror movie rather than some form of mindless, violent exploitation. He loses that argument. Filled with gratuitous violence (a woman's hands are nailed to a wall and a man tries to hammer a screwdriver into a woman's ear), this purports to be about a cult seeking to spread the good word of selfless communal living. Yet each community member has been kidnapped, tortured, branded, and imprisoned. No worries, there's a philosophy behind the cult's actions, a quest to cure the lonely by way of the "four foundations," openness, acceptance, selflessness, and, most important, "security." An example of the last foundation? The prisoners, uh, tenants, are asked to mutilate and even kill each other when community members try to rebel or escape.

As in The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent, which 1BR also resembles, a young person is trapped in a dystopia, but the other movies, released between 2012 to 2014, ultimately celebrated and rewarded rebellion against oppression. The world-weary 1BR tells our youth, Don't bother rebelling, it's useless. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how easy it is to victimize lonely isolated people. Why do you think the cult targets people who aren't happy in their lives?

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  • Is the violence gratuitous, or is it necessary to the plot? Why?

  • What's the appeal of horror movies? How does 1BR compare to others you've seen?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horror

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